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Published Jul. 21, 2021

Access to cold air on a hot day doesn’t have to mean sitting inside 24/7 in front of the AC. If you’re headed out for a weekend camping trip, a fun day at the beach, a stroll in the park, or (ugh) a sweaty commute, there are portable fans ready to keep you cool. The question is, how to choose? Breeze through a few points of consideration and some suggestions for finding the best portable fan or personal fan to help you beat the heat.

Considerations when shopping for the best portable fan

The key to finding the best portable fan is to think about when you’ll be using it and where. Are you looking for something small to toss in your beach bag easily? Do you need something that stands on its own to cool you down at your desk? Or are you looking for something with special features to chill out alongside friends and family on a camping trip? Once you know where you’ll be and how much fresh air power you’re looking for, you can figure out which portable fan is best for your next outdoor adventure. 

Planning a rugged weekend away?

If you’re heading out on an exciting summer camping trip or taking a quick jaunt to a remote, AC-less cabin, a portable fan might be your new best companion. For longer trips away, think about prioritizing battery life to ensure you won’t have to sweat it out all night after daytime use. You might also want to look for a model that includes a power bank to charge your devices or a light to illuminate your space. These additional features can go a long way to keep you safe and comfortable on a weekend adventure.  

Want more of a breeze while you work?

Even if your office or at-home work station is equipped with air conditioning, it doesn’t hurt to keep a portable desk fan on hard for an added breeze to keep you cool. A compact desk fan won’t take up too much space but can make a big difference when it comes to comfort. If your window unit isn’t cutting it, look for an additional small cooling fan that can stand on its own and charge while running. Think about grabbing a unit that can be powered via USB, so you can keep it plugged into your computer without worrying it will die before you finish the workday. 

Are you going to move from room to room?

Portability doesn’t always mean tiny. Sometimes we just need a lightweight model that packs a punch, no matter the size. Generally speaking, the bigger the fan, the more powerful it is, the more area it can cover, and the more people it can cool down. If you need a fan that can chill larger rooms on particularly balmy days, look for a tower fan that weighs under 15 pounds., so you can easily move from room to room without breaking a sweat. When you’re staying inside, you don’t need to worry about transport issues like battery life or overall size, so you can focus more on special features such as fan speeds, oscillation, and timers.

Would a little bit of mist go a long way?

For outdoor summer days, you can’t go wrong with a mini fan that can spritz you throughout the day. If you don’t want to miss out on enjoying beach trips, summer barbecues, picnics, and more, then reach for a small, handheld fan you can easily slip into your bag to stay cool anytime, anywhere. Major bonus points for a model that has a small reservoir for water. With the push of a button, you’ll feel a steady spray that refreshes and cools.

Do you need to have your hands free?

Are you going on a long bike ride, toiling away over the grill, or climbing your way up a rock scramble? If this sounds like you, then look for a wearable fan that will leave your hands free. These portable fans sit comfortably around your neck so you can keep your hands on the steering wheel, tongs, walking stick, oar, etc. These battery-powered fans are a great way to get a breeze going without taking a break from your favorite activities.

Are you trying to keep your baby cool?

Beating the heat is important for everyone, especially young kids and babies. Thankfully, there are plenty of portable fans out there that can easily attach to your stroller, ensuring your little one stays cool on a warm day. Kids love to grasp and grab at just about everything, so make sure your stroller fan is sturdily attached yet adjustable, so you can angle airflow without worrying your baby will get a hold of the mini fan. 

The best portable fans

Top portable fan overall: Fxexblin Camping Fan


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This Fxexblin camping fan is the best portable fan and has everything you need for a comfortable camping trip.  It features three fan speeds and a battery that can last up to 25 hours on slow speeds, and a full six hours at maximum speed. The lantern also has three brightness levels, and each facet can be adjusted using an included remote control. You can even plug in your mobile phone or computer and use the fan’s USB-C port to charge your device in case of an emergency. The unit itself can be charged via USB cable, power bank, car charger, laptop, and more. It also includes four battery-indicator lights which help you anticipate charging time and battery life. The hook design means you can suspend the fan above you or simply fold the handle down to have it stand upright. At just 11.2 ounces and 6.8 by 5.4 inches, this powerful fan will be easy to transport for on-the-go use.

Runner up: Honeywell Turbo on the Go  


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While the Turbo on the Go fan won’t replace traditional AC, it’s a fantastic way to stay cool during a hectic workday and a great runner-up for the best portable fan. It measures roughly 5 by 12 inches and weighs under one ounce, so you don’t need to worry about it taking up too much space or dragging you down if you’re on the move. This fan produces a breeze you can feel from up to three feet away with several set-up options, including standalone, hanging, or carrying. It can be powered with four AA batteries for outdoor use or via a USB-A cable, which can plug directly into your work computer. 

Premium pick: Lasko T42954 Tower Fan

The tower fan from Lasko is an excellent tool for extra cooling indoors. It features widespread oscillation, three quiet fan speeds, and a nighttime setting that auto-decreases fan speed and dims controls. You can also easily set a timer on the fan for one, two, and four hours, so you don’t need to worry about turning it off before you leave the house. You can adjust the speed, timer, and mode settings using an included remote control. While this certainly isn’t the fan you’ll pack away in your beach bag, a carrying handle makes it easy to move from room to room for an additional burst of cool air whenever you need it.

Best portable fan for trips: Handfan Misting Fan


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This rechargeable mini fan is one of the best ways to stay refreshed during a hot summer day making it the best portable fan for trips. It can easily fit in the pocket of a purse or backpack, with a handle that can be adjusted from 0 to 180 degrees for handheld or standalone use. Choose from three different fan speeds to cool you down no matter the weather. You can even trigger night mode, which includes a delightful array of colored lights. Best of all, this fan comes with a built-in mister and 17-millimeter water reservoir, which can produce a steady stream of gentle mist for ten minutes at a time. All of these functions can be controlled with just one button for ultimate ease. This mini fan weighs just 6.6 ounces and measures 4.1 by 8.9 inches, the perfect size to keep handy in your car, back pocket, or travel bag. 

If you’re willing to substitute the misting powers for a power bank to charge your phone, check out the Jisulife Handheld Mini Fan.

Budget pick: Comlife Portable Neck Fan  


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You shouldn’t have to pause all your favorite pastimes just to dab sweat away or take a break in the shade. A wearable fan, like this one from Comlife, is a magnificent way to keep moving even when the heat starts to rise. This double-headed fan hangs comfortably on the neck and is 360-degree adjustable so you can stay cool without anything getting in your way. It features six fan speeds, battery life between two and nine hours depending on use, and an included USB cable for simple charging. This fan weighs just 0.4 pounds, so you won’t be under any strain while wearing it, even during exercise. From cooking to hiking, cycling to lounging, you’ll have no trouble keeping comfortable, even during a vigorous workout.

Best portable fan for little ones: Amacool Stroller Fan


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This stroller fan comes in three cute colors with a protective fan cover and flexible tripod legs that are easy for you to attach, but hard for your baby to remove. It can easily adhere to the sides, tray, or hood of your stroller as well as your little one’s car seat, playpen, or baby gym. The fan head is adjustable vertically and horizontally with 360 degrees of rotation. It even has three fan speeds so you can customize the breeze your baby needs. The fan lasts between 2.5 and 10 hours, depending on wind speed, and can be easily recharged via USB. While this fan is safe for babies and toddlers, always make sure to have an adult on the lookout whenever it’s switched on. 


Q: What is the best fan for cooling a room?

Unfortunately, the best fan for cooling a room probably isn’t portable. That said, the Lasko T42954 Tower Fan is definitely a solid option, and you might want to investigate more tower fan options, standing fans, and ceiling fans for maximum cooling. Take a look at the Dreo Tower Fan, this Vornado Vintage Vfan, and the Pelonis Pedestal Oscillating Fan to get you started.

Q: Is there a fan that blows cold air?

Some fans blow colder air, but keep in mind that they can be a bit pricier than the portable models listed above. Unlike air conditioners that use freon, or regular fans which circulate the ambient air, cold-air fans need to use more advanced technology to create highly concentrated, controlled pressure and super-high speeds that actively cycle and slightly chill the air. Top-notch models like the Dyson Pure Hot Cool can do more to chill the air around you. If you want actively cooled air and live in the right climate, you might be interested in trying an evaporative cooler that cycles recently evaporated, chilled water from a reservoir to cool a room. 

Q: What is the quietest portable fan for the bedroom?

There are several options out there for super-quiet fans you’re sure to sleep through, and many others include a sleep or night mode to further quell sound or lights. Honeywell, Vornado, and Lasko make several portable room fans that are practically noiseless. It will be a bit more challenging to find a compact, pocket-portable fan that can provide the same options when it comes to quiet modes, but that shouldn’t be as much of an issue when you’re using them on the road.    

Final thoughts on finding the best portable fan

While the summer heat can undoubtedly feel oppressive at times, there’s no reason why you can’t grab one of the best portable fans out there to make things more bearable, especially if you know which factors to prioritize. If you want to stay especially active, go for a wearable or handheld model. If you need some extra chill indoors, a compact desk fan or lightweight tower fan will do the trick. And for special situations, make sure you look for a fan that proudly boasts its strengths, like stroller or camping fans. Beating the heat won’t be so hard with a great portable fan in hand.